The dulcet tones of “White Christmas” which crackled on the airwaves of the Armed Forces radio on April 29, 1975, did not succeed in spreading joy in sunny Saigon. Instead, the release of the vacation standard after the announcement that “the temperature in Saigon is 105 degrees and rising” instilled fear and panic in all those who recognized the coded signal to begin an immediate evacuation of all the Americans in Vietnam.

Although the United States withdrew its combat forces from Vietnam after the signing of the Paris peace accords in 1973, about 5,000 Americans – including diplomats, naval guards, contractors, and employees of Central Intelligence Agency – stayed. President Richard Nixon had secretly promised South Vietnam that the United States would “answer with all its might” if North Vietnam violated the peace treaty. However, after the Watergate scandal forced Nixon to resign, the North Vietnamese army felt encouraged to launch a major offensive in March 1975.

“From Hanoi’s perspective, the unrest that led to and including Nixon’s resignation was an opportunity to take advantage of the distraction of the United States,” said Tom Clavin, co-author of Last Men Out: The True Story of America’s Last Heroic Hours in Vietnam. “North Vietnam never intended to respect the 1973 agreement – its ultimate mission was to unify the country – but the political crisis in America has allowed them to go up their calendar.”

North Vietnamese cities capture en route to Saigon

A North Vietnamese armored car crashing through the main door of the Palace of Independence in Saigon.


By Vanniyar Adrian

Vanniyar Adrian is a seasoned journalist with a passion for uncovering stories that resonate with readers worldwide. With a keen eye for detail and a commitment to journalistic integrity, Ganesan has contributed to the media landscape for over a decade, covering a diverse range of topics including politics, technology, culture, and human interest stories.